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Agenda full this summer for University officials, regents

By Kyle Swanson, Daily News Editor
Published April 19, 2010

While students are gone over the summer, University officials will be busy working to implement several changes that will have major implications for students when they return to campus next fall.

The changes, which often receive little attention from students away from campus over the summer, include routine items like reviewing tuition and housing rates. However, this summer, University President Mary Sue Coleman will be also be dealing with issues specific to this year including considering several changes to the Student Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and implementing a continuous enrollment policy for all Ph.D. students and candidates.

And that’s all before University officials appear before the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions in August as part of the NCAA’s ongoing investigation into allegations of wrongdoing by Michigan’s football program.

First on the agenda for Coleman will be reviewing the proposed revisions to the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Coleman is set to make the final ruling later this month on whether five proposed amendments will be put into effect for the next academic year.

The proposed changes include changing language in the student code to make it gender neutral, realigning the statement’s current nondiscrimination policy to match that of the University’s Board of Regents and adding intimate partner violence as a violation of the code.

A controversial amendment proposal that would have lowered the burden of evidence needed to convict a student of code violations from clear and convincing evidence to a preponderance of the evidence standard will likely not be implemented, after the Michigan Student Assembly withdrew its support for the proposal earlier this year.

However, in an interview with The Michigan Daily last month, Coleman said she couldn’t rule the proposed amendment out, saying she wasn’t familiar with what would happen in that situation.

“I can’t comment on them because I really don’t know yet what they’re going to be moving forward,” Coleman said in March, adding she didn’t know whether the burden of evidence proposal would be considered. “I don’t know. I mean, I assume not if it’s been withdrawn, but as I’ve said I haven’t gotten anything yet so I don’t know.

In June, Coleman will be leaving the country on a trip to China. During her visit, Coleman will be making several stops, including one at Shanghai Jiao Tong University — the school with whom the University has a joint institute — and at the world expo.

“I’m very much looking forward to that trip because I’m hoping that we’ll be solidifying this research relationship we have with Shanghai Jiao Tong,” Coleman said last month.

At the same time, University officials, including outgoing Provost Teresa Sullivan and incoming Provost Philip Hanlon, will continue to work on finalizing the University’s budget for next year.

The finalized budget proposal will be presented to the University’s Board of Regents in June for a vote. In recent years, the regents have typically unanimously approved the budget proposal. However, last year when a 5.6 percent tuition increase was proposed, Regent Julia Darlow (D–Ann Arbor) and Regent Denise Ilitch (D–Bingham Farms) voted against the budget proposal, which still passed with a majority of votes.

University officials have remained silent on how much tuition might increase next year, but have hinted that a tuition increase is very likely.